24-Hour Flu Treatment

chamomile flowers

UPDATE: This post was three years old and while we would still use these treatments if we got the flu, we rarely get sick, due primarily to a preventative regimen of supplements, lifestyle factors and sleep/stress reduction. Here are the supplements we take regularly to help boost immune health.

We had our first bout with the seasonal flu this week, and from my experience, all the hype is very overblown. In the course of 3 days my husband and both kids have contracted, and gotten over the flu (it is possibly, but not confirmed as the H1N1 strain). They all had the three common symptoms being listed for this years flu:

  • Fever
  • Body Ache
  • Respiratory Symptoms

All three got over their flu within 24 hours, both kids fully recovering within 12. I figured I would share my remedies in case anyone else is interested.

What we did not do: swine flu shots, seasonal flu shots, Tamiflu, antibiotics, visit the ER, Tylenol, fever reducers, etc.

What we did do:

  • Hydration-At the onset of first symptoms, they all started drinking a lot of water, up to a gallon and a half that day in my husband’s case
  • Hot Tea and tons of Homemade Bone Broth-As hot liquids have been shown to stimulate the immune system and stop proliferation of the flu virus, they all continuously sipped hot herbal teas, homemade chicken soup and hot water with lemon juice and honey.
  • Vitamin C- More and more evidence is showing that vitamin C is the ascorbic acid form can battle the flu and other viruses better than medication. For the kids, I started with 500 mg chewable doses and continued until they reached bowel tolerance (the point that it causes diarrhea) and then reduced to half doses every two hours. This amounted to about 3,000 mg total by the time they were symptom free. I continued 500 mg a day for several days to increase immunity. For my husband, I gave 500 mg every hour until bowel tolerance and half doses every hour after. This amounted to almost 5,000 mg for him by the time he was symptom free.
  • Oil of Oregano-one drop in water every couple of hours is a powerful antiviral and antibiotic (not for use during pregnancy)
  • Homemade elderberry syrup-1 Tablespoon every hour for husband, 1/2 Tablespoon every hour for kids. This is very similar to Sambucol, which is sold nationwide.
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with “the mother”-One Tablespoon in 8 oz water every three hours. This alkalizes the body and kills any yeast that can be feeding infection.
  • Removal of carbs and sugars from the diet until completely well-At the first symptom, all three were pulled off of carbs and sugars, which can feed infection. If hungry, they ate tons of soup, healthy forms of protein, vegetables, and vegetable smoothies.
  • Lots of rest-This one is pretty obvious during any illness

I purposely did not give fever reducing medicine to any of them. As with any illness, I carefully monitor temperature and don’t make any effort to bring it down until it hits at least 104 (which never happens for us). For anything less than 104, I simply use the regimen above. Fever is the body’s natural response to illness and is a sign that the infection is being fought by the body. Reducing the fever really is not necessary unless it gets to a dangerous level. Both kids had fevers in the 103 range, and without the aid of Tylenol or medication, fought the infection and kicked the fever in 12 hours.

Hopefully none of you will deal with any illness this year, but if you do, maybe some of this may help you too.

How do you keep from getting sick or treat it naturally when you do? Share your tips below!

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Reader Comments

  1. McCall says

    I was trying to find your information on not taking the flu shot and why you disagree with them. Is there an article you can link me to? Thanks!

    • Ava says

      There are so many articles that dispel
      the myth of the flu vaccination. Go to NVIC.org for all of the info you could ever want on vaccinations, and why they are often a much bigger problem than disease. I think someone sent a link to you already, but I wanted to chime in. Flu shots don’t work! They cannot be effective, as each year, the flu morphs into a different strain from the past year, but the vaccinations were created on the old version. We do not have the technology to create an effective flu shot at this point. The flu is ahead of our game. Flu shots will however, cause inflammation, and damage your immune system, which sets up your body for a host of other issues and infections. This is one of those things, that makes you wonder how, and why, we buy into anything we are told by traditional medicine, and mainstream media. Luckily, the flu, like any virus, is both preventable and treatable. Natural Health advocates, and professionals NEVER get flu shots! This is just part of rejecting what doesn’t work, and that which does harm, and finding a better solution to an old problem. I love this site…

      • kit says

        I have gotten a flu shot every year since 2007 and never got the flu. The past two years i did not, and have gotten the flu. Another friend treated her daughter for a “cold” naturally while the kids fever spiked between 101-103 for days before she took her to find out she had a double ear infection, double sinus infection and pnemonia. Careful with your worldly advice.

        • June says

          None of those things are influenza. The flu shot would not have helped your friend’s daughter. It’s important to understand that illness is going to happen. A flu shot is not a plastic bubble. No matter how many inoculations they develop, humans will forever have to occasionally stop to take care of ourselves and our children from time to time. Sites like this help us to do just that.

    • Tirtsah says

      This sounds great! I’m sick right now and I have been doing some of the things you listed. I think I will try some of your ways today. Thanks

      • Aaron Johnson says

        It seems that traditional western medicine only treats the symptoms, not the actual illness, so I’m giving this a shot in hopes that I can kick this flu pretty soon! Thank you for all the helpful information! :-)

      • Olivia says

        I have followed all of this religiously and I am still very sick on day three. I eat a very healthy 100% organic non processed diet and take supplements. I am miserable. Any further advice? :(

    • bernadette goss says

      I wonder if this mom would be available to attend a funeral of a little one because the parents delayed getting medical attention. You don’t mention your children’s age but a child with a 103 degree temperature should be seen at an urgent care facility especially if they have diarrhea and/or vomiting. Please be careful using all “home remedies”. You don’t know if a child is sick enough to be in a hospital – dehydrated, etc. and any wasted time could mean the difference between life and death. The time delay is more critical the smaller the child. Even a delay of a few hours could be fatal. Please, if you have a small child do not delay seeking medical attention. Especially not 24 hours HOPEING a remedy will work. These remedies might be useful for a cold, etc. for an older child but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not try to self-diagnosis. The flu this season is the deadliest on record and it is not even half way over the typical flu season. Sorry, just trying to help.

      • Rhonda says

        What Ive learned the past couple of years with my daughter getting the flu,she would be playing then down by an all the sudden fever over 101.I took her in to be tested,last year she had strep at the same time.Didnt give her tamaflu,that stuff is harsh on their tummies.But I did use motrin to keep it at bay,and lots of fluids,hot tea,apple cider with apple cider vinegar,yogurt,orange juice.this year she was down for a day.A fever to me is a cue to a problem.

  2. Parker says

    I take echinacea tablets twice a day when I start to feel a cold or a fever coming on, and sip hot tea…usually it stops a cold onset dead in its tracks and reduces an oncoming fever as well!

  3. Liv says

    Great info, thanks! I do some of this and also we take extra vitamin d, swallow garlic cloves and take grapefruit seed extract.

  4. says

    These are great tips – I’m going to bookmark this for the future. Currently, the boyfriend and I use a “tonic” I made of garlic, white onions, jalapeno peppers (or hotter), horseradish root, and apple cider vinegar. I mince the food in a processor, pour ACV on top, and let it steep for two weeks. You’re supposed to drain it and just use the liquid, but I also use the bits of food as relish or in a soup. Works really well, just smells and tastes awful.

  5. April says

    One thing I’ve done for the last year is organic whole juicing (putting the produce in my blendtec instead of using a juicer. I’ve tried both ways and like the whole juicing much better. I’m still getting micronutrients) every day for breakfast. All of those raw nutrients really boost my body! I also include ginger in every juice. Just a little chub. I’m not a huge ginger fan, but it is a natural germ fighter. I also include chia seeds and coconut oil in all my juices. It just makes sense that a strong healthy body being fed all the nutrients it needs is harder to attack than one that is surviving on processed garbage. I’ve continued juicing and at 8 weeks pregnant I’m still not nauseous and I have more energy than I typically do when I’m pregnant. I feel a little run down instead of like sitting on the couch is more effort than I can handle. This is baby #6. Aside from the oregano oil, are any of these others not for pregnant women? I’m going to order that vitamin c you recommend.

    • says

      High doses of Vitamin C (over 2000 mg), turmeric, cinnamon, and some other spices aren’t recommended while pregnant, and definitely check any essential oil to make sure it is safe.

  6. Gina says

    Hello,
    I am looking for your information of not giving your children vaccines….but I can’t seem to find it….can you please direct me….
    Thank you !

  7. sara says

    can you tell me what age your kids are before you start them on supplements such as cod liver oil? also, what age you start the flu treatments? i have a 2 year old who has been under the weather and am wondering if any of these treatments are not good for his age.

  8. says

    I have a 10yr old that is only puking up everything, water everything for over 24+ hrs. NO fever, just stomach cramping, no diarrhea. Every time I give her fluid she pukes, should I try tea? All her fluids have been cool not warm

    • says

      I”d try that, but I’d also call her doctor just in case to make sure it isn’t something like appendicitis. Is she having cramping in any particular place? Maybe also try probiotics with a tiny sip of water if she can keep it down.

    • Linda says

      Whenever I can’t keep anything down I use popsicles. They hydrate you slowly and you’re at least getting some sugar.

      • Lisa Beaulieu says

        Sugar is the worst thing you can do while sick. it feeds the bad bacteria. Mama also advises against sugar.
        If, by sugar, what you are trying to do is nourish your body or give it some kind fuel, and you can’t keep anything down unless it’s sweet, make homemade honey/tea popsicles, using echinacea tea or elderberry tea, with lemon and honey, and don’t forget the GINGER – it actually really helps with nausea. ANYTHING except white sugar.
        Good luck

  9. mo says

    the last time I was sick was about three years ago, and I found that drinking the gallon to a gallon and a half of water just wiped it out in two days. no more week of being sick, no lingering cough, etc!! Your other suggestions are awesome and I will try if needed! ACV sounds especially good!!! I used to get sick once a year, flu or cold. I also think that following my supplement regimen has tremendously boosted my immune system!!!

  10. says

    I just bought the NOW brand ascorbic acid. Each serving = 2.5 g. How would you recommend taking this form of vitamin c when coping with flu symptoms? Would you stick to the recommended dose or double?

    • says

      Personally, when I’m not pregnant, I take about 1/2 to 1 tsp every few hours until I hit bowel tolerance and then back down slightly and continue at that level until the illness is gone…

  11. Jill says

    When we start feeling sick with colds or flu, first its take chopped fresh garlic at the onset of syptoms. Then once in the morning and once again in the evening. If throat is sore, for 3 consective nights, just at bedtime, drink a glass of warm milk with a pinch of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground turmeric. Both help relive syptoms quickly.

  12. Kristin Danenberger says

    you mention avoiding all sugars and carbs in order to help the body heal and reduce inflamation, but what about the sugar in the elderberry syrup and the lemon water w/ honey you mentioned above? does the honey in the elderberry syrup have a potential to harm the immune system or does it not matter so much since the elderberry has such a positive effect?

    • Cyndee says

      Not all Elderberry/Sambucus uses honey to sweeten it. You can look at the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t have sugar. Personally I think honey has many healing properties and I wouldn’t worry about giving it unless you are 1 year or younger.

  13. Whitney says

    My husband and I are expecting our first child in a few weeks, and have been recommended by our pediatrician to get the flu shot, as infants have no immunity to the flu, and can die from serious complications of being exposed to the influenza virus. Neither of us believe in the flu shot for ourselves, and haven’t had one in years. We would rather build up our own immunities. However, when it comes to a susceptible infant, we are unsure. I don’t want to mess with the possibility of my baby getting deathly sick from the flu virus. What do you think about infants and exposure to the flu virus?
    Also, I noticed you stated that Oil of Oregano (which has been tremendously helpful in helping my husband’s sinus problems!) is not safe during pregnancy ,,,, what is the reasoning behind that? When I try to research it I can’t find anything. I only used it once on a very bad mouth infection while pregnant, and am now worried that I shouldn’t have!
    I appreciate your blog, and love learning from it every day! :)

    • Becky says

      Whitney,

      I was told by a lactation consultant years ago that if I just breastfed my baby then that would be BETTER then getting the flu shot. I would do some more research on breastfeeding and how much it protects our babies. I BF all 4 of my kids and none of them got their first cold until after age 1 and I don’t hide my kids either. I also had them on a very very slow delayed vaccination schedule.

  14. Rory O Connor says

    Hi, i have severe asthma and get the flu shot every year without fail, and almost every year i get the flu anyway, woke up with it today, hit me like a train, it required a doc visit because of its impact on my lungs. i am taking a lot of raw garlic and turmeric and manuka honey in milk along with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and lots of water, does anyone have any tips for chest mucus clearance, this is and will be my worst issue, it will lead to the inevitable huge repeated amounts of oral steroids that cause weight gain, rage, etc. i really hate the flu, i am missing out on seasonal fun and am back to work in a week and have loads to do beforehand, help please

    • Gabe says

      Organic ACV is awesome for thinning mucus. She said a tablespoon in water every few hours. I take a teaspoon in grape juice, much easier to take (though her way is prob more effective).

  15. Denise McCaa says

    My kids are 12& 116 lbs; 10 & 113 lbs and 9& 75 lbs.
    Are they able to take the Elderberry Syrup? It is Sambucus Black ultra concentrated 5000 mg per serving? Any dosing info you could sharer with me would be helpful or if I should not give them this.

    Thank you

  16. Kira says

    I love every part of this post, thank you for sharing, I’ve been at home with my little guy trying it all. My son is 2 1/2 would you recommend the oil of oregano only be applied topically?

  17. Mary says

    I supplement with extra C and D daily (along with my multi-vitamin) and I wash it all down with warm water with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed in. I also pop a black seed with garlic capsule every day along with one bitter melon capsule. I only eat whole foods and I sweeten my one daily cup of coffee with Stevia. Otherwise I am a water drinker. No junk food, no processed food.

  18. Max Milde says

    I’m away at university and suffering from the flu, this looks like great help will definitely try all of this :)

  19. says

    Do carrots, apples, and beets count as sugar? I was going to make a beet-carrot-apple soup since I have no real appetite and can sip it. What about raw honey in tea?

  20. Jana Klingman says

    On Guard by doTerra is amazing in preventing the flu, including H1N1. Once you are systematic, it is also great in treating and eradicating the virus! On Guard is a combination oil of Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark, and Rosemary.

    • Cyndee says

      On Guard is a form of the Thieves Oil which is what they grave robbers used to rob people who had the black plague. If you was even better prevention…get yourself (or make yourself) some Thieves oil. You rub it on the soles of your feet or on your chest.

  21. Phyllis says

    Hi Wellness Momma,

    Try baking soda, good old Arm & Hammer. Pathogens cannot live in an alkaline environment
    and raising the body pH from acidic to alkaline will help a lot along with your protocol.
    Half a tsp. in a glass of pure water drunk a few times a day will kill a lot of bugs. If the taste
    is difficult, put it in juicing or bone broth and sip away.

    All good stuff. Thanks.

  22. Shannon says

    Wish I had found this a week ago when my son was suffering. I woke up with it yesterday, so I went to the doctor and they verified Influenza b. I am allergic to the antivirals, so I needed another way to get over this asap. I tried the tough it out method, no fever reducers, lots of bone broth with a tablespoon of acv, pau d’arco tea with raw honey, lots of water, no sugar or carbs, and 10,000mg vitamin d, lots and lots of sleep. I woke up today fever free! But, I do feel pretty weak still and have a nasty cough, but am really impressed. My son had his fever for 4 days, so I believe taking fever reducers keeps you sick longer. I am wondering how long before your family started feeling more normal after the fever was gone. Instill feel so weak andyucky even without the fever. Thanks so much for all this info!

  23. geri says

    hi! is the vitamin C loading safe for nursing moms like me? also, I have an acidic stomach. Im worried i’ll get stomach aches if i try it. what can you suggest? thanks!

  24. michelle says

    I usually get flu like sick once a year , but this year is different .I recently finished antibiotics for the cold i had hasn’t even been a month now i am having same flu like symptoms again .

  25. Nada says

    I know I’m late to the party, as this post is ancient, but just an FYI: Don’t take the oil of oregano while breastfeeding either — it can dramatically decrease breastmilk production and destroy your supply.

    • Devonna says

      Fenugreek is an awesome natural way to help increase milk supply. I also drank the mothers milk tea. Both of these on their own help boost production but together they help even if your milk has almost dried up. Also, staying hydrated is essential for milk production. Sweet tea also increased my milk….it would increase within the hour with the sweet tea. All of these things increase your milk supply pretty quickly. Best wishes and hooray for breast feeding our precious babies….breast milk is the best way to help your baby build their immune system. …and its all natural!

  26. Keri Lehmann says

    Thanks for the tip! We followed it for my son yesterday, after being diagnosed with flu from doc, and now- 24 hours later…all better! 98.6 temp, no symptoms, and ready to make him get up and clean! hahah!

  27. Nicole says

    We do some of this but I just got back from getting the rest. We also use extra vitamin d but I wonder if you’ve ever used a colloidal silver?

  28. Janet says

    I have some family members that were diagnosed with the flu yesterday. My 3 year old son stays over there while I am work. However, I have him home today. He isn’t showing signs of anything yet but should I go ahead and start him on something?
    Also, I feel pretty rough today. During the night I woke up freezing and then sweating continually through the night. This morning I am exhausted and my right ear is aching. What should I do?

  29. Lisa B says

    Mama,

    My Naturopath has me taking mediclear for breakfast everyday and I always throw in a handful of blueberries in there.
    Is this too much sugar/starch while I’m sick with flu? Should I skip the berries and have honey or maple instead?

  30. Kim says

    Hi Katie, we are currently battling the flu in our home and I was wondering what you know about Sodium Ascorbate as opposed to Ascorbic Acid. I read that it’s more readily absorbed by the body when I was researching ways to treat whooping cough (since we don’t vaccinate and I want to be prepared for how to handle it, should we ever have to).

  31. Peggy says

    Been sick for four days and enjoyed your article and I am on it! Already upped my liquid intake and that has helped. A lot of green mucus (sorry) rolling around in my chest and my fever spikes off and on. Pretty rough…I am 67 yrs old. Do not want to have to take any drugs…..My nose is running to beat the band…I think that is a good thing. Tempted to take Sudafed…..NOT! Anymore advice would be appreciated. Thanks bunches.

    • Olivia Bye says

      Peggy, make sure you are taking the vitamin C in large doses. (3,000 a day is what I did last week and I am 100 lbs) I also recommend you take zinc lozenges and Elderberry Syrup as they really help with the sore throat and mucous. Also try to eat as much garlic as possible (in soups or salsa etc.) and focus on mainly plant foods with home made ginger tea. I hope you get well soon! It was a nasty flu. I was over it by day 6. I hope you are too!

  32. Becky says

    I love your blog and I love that you are into supporting the immune system so that it can do what it should do naturally. We all have amazing bodies given to us by our creator! I wa wondering about the Wild oregano oil, it says that you should not give it to children under 6 years of age. What age do you give it to your children?

  33. Torrez says

    thanks katie for all the info you share! i would like to say also that we need to start thinking for ourselves. western medicine is good for emergencies or something like that. in general, to treat a disease, it is no good because they do not treat the root of the issue. they just prescribe us drugs that cause more issues etc…

    also, i don’t know about you, but whenever my family has been sick and we call the doctor, we are always told it is a virus going around blah, blah, blah. kaiser and other main hospitals have done this and i got to thinking…. how on earth is the CDC coming out with a flu shot if people that are sick with a virus are not getting tested to see what strain it is? how on earth is the CDC coming up with the flu shots stating that it was the strongest strain (or whatever they say)? nobody in our family, co-workers or friends have ever been tested at all. yet we are supposed to get a flu shot? yeah right. the stats are obviously not accurate.

    • Rhonda says

      Last year my daughter and I got the flu no shots,so I said thats it Im getting the shot next time.well nov. 2014 kids got the shot,today 2015 my daughter has the flu.so she got it with and without

  34. Vashra Araeshkigal says

    Could you please explain how vinegar — a solidly acidic substance – helps to “alkalinize” the body?

  35. Mary says

    Just followed this (except the oil of oregano) and it worked like a charm!!! Six days of a horrible stomach bug for two kids and my two other kids and I were never sick or over it in literally hours. AVC plus charcoal is potent and works wonders.

  36. Mia says

    I’ve been doing the majority of this for my sick husband, some of which he’s refused. Smh. Something about now reading it to him from off the internet validates it, so “Nurse Mia” is now allowed to follow through with these remedies. :D So thanks. Lol

  37. Jenna says

    Hi, I’m also wondering if there’s any detrimental side effects to taking large quantities of vitamin C while breastfeeding.
    Thank you.

  38. Rene says

    Thank you for all this great info!! I wish I had read it a few days ago… I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with influenza A and given Tamiflu. My boyfriend was freaking out about my high temp and how awful I felt… I knew there was a better way but did not listen to myself… I have bookmarked this page so if it happens again or to someone I know I’ll have it handy. I’ve had a cold, sinus infection and now this since Christmas. I eat mostly organic, I don’t each processed or fast food. I do work with the public but I don’t understand why my immune system is seemingly not working very well. I’m going to look into how to boost my immune system. Any suggestions?

    • Lisa b says

      dear Rene.
      I was the same as you. Eating very clean and healthy, no binge drinking or smoking, no processed or fast foods but couldn’t understand why I would get so ill for so long. My gp ignored all my other symptoms and complaints and so I thought I could fix it myself by boosting the immune system with herbs etc. yes they will help and absolutely keep on this path of natural clean nutrient dense eating but it only helps heal if you don’t have anything else going on. Meanwhile I had NO clue I had horrible inflammation, a sluggish liver and a severe hormone imbalance plus waiting for other tests to come back. Why? Because I did the same as my old doctors, decided my symptoms were no big deal and got used to it like it was normal. A poor immune system is a huge red flag. ignore me or your body but you will be worse off in the long run and will pay more out of pocket for treatment that health care won’t cover. GO to a naturopath and pay less now out of pocket for all the tests you need, don’t guess at what’s wrong with you or you’ll waste precious years like I did and now I’m infertile.
      Now it’s up to you. I really hope you hear what I’m saying to you.
      Best wishes.

  39. Lana says

    Thank you for the wonderful advice. I’m feeling like I’m just about to get flu – I have very subtle symptoms – and I’ll use your advice.

    On a side note it’s sad to see some aggressive and spiteful comments here – clearly if some of you people want to vaccinate your kids – go right ahead – no one is keeping your hands tied! I’m just wondering why are you coming to a holistic page to advocate evil pharmaceuticals – makes no sense. Pharmaceuticals in general are known to often cause more harm than good. Not to mention the whole goal is not to treat people but to make money for evil corporations.

    I just had to say something about that!

    Thank you for your lovely article!

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